Autism Awareness

April 19, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Can you improve your unborn child’s health?

I am so concerned about the rising rates of children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)—a group of developmental disabilities that contribute to major social, communicative, and behavioral challenges. ASDs are now estimated to occur in 1 in 110 children in the U.S. alone.

Could the plethora of childhood vaccinations be the cause? Or perhaps heavy metals, fungus and fungal metabolites, and/or a lack of glutathione—the body’s premier antioxidant, which is known as the “toxic waste eliminator.”

I found a recent study very interesting which sheds more light on the autism mystery. In this study, there were 21 non-autistic children and 34 autistic children whose homocysteine levels were measured in their urine. Homocystein is a potentially toxic amino acid. The researchers found that the autistic children’s sample was dramatically higher in homocysteine than those of the non-autistic control group.

The authors of the study concluded that the higher level of homocysteine found among the autistic children may indicate deficiencies of folic acid, B6, and B12—the nutrients necessary to convert homocysteine to the harmless essential amino acid methionine.

This is potentially a breakthrough study and I would highly recommend that all parents of autistic children have their children’s blood tested for folic acid, B6, and B12. Also consider eliminating unnecessary ultrasounds during pregnancy as there is major suspicion that the electromagnetic fields from the Dopple ultrasound use may be harming the fetus—and a source of the escalating autism epidemic.

As Autism Awareness Month wraps up, please take a moment to visit and to learn more about autism and what you can do to increase awareness.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. jillan

    What about the lack of breastfeeding? Couldn’t that be a more viable reason than vaccines? Also, may I remind you that the vaccines = autism study was retracted (unfortunately, too late to prevent needless deaths and permanent effects to children from a resurgence of mumps, whooping cough and measles)

    This is a very interesting study and hypothesis though. I will definitely be sending this article to my pregnant frieds!

  2. liz

    Autism is at an all time high even with the resurgence of interest in breastfeeding.
    During the 1940’s and ’50’s when women were discouraged from breast feeding, autism was not at these levels.

  3. Kelly

    So, I guess my first question is what is the best way to get more folic acid and B6 and B12 into our newborn and toddler boys?

    Since we do have 2 boys, I am extremely concerned in general, but being boys, I know there is a higher incidence rate for them.

    When pregnant this time (we just had a boy last Monday), I found out the rates of women getting these meds to stop their contractions that just sounded scary. I am now also wondering if this is not a major cause of autism. There were so many women getting these meds- I declined them- that I truly question if that is not the problem.

  4. Gail

    I think when you have at least one involved parent, a household that focuses on healthy eating, very little television, the children not being rushed from one activity to the next but a balanced lifestyle that has time for unstructured play, a reasonably stable household, autism can’t take a foothold.

  5. Margaret

    I wonder if there may be too many hasty diagnoses of autism. Children develop at different rates and many infants and toddlers will “catch up” to their peers by first grade. An enriching educational environment and much love and support from from family contributes to healthy child development. Placing labels on youngsters so early in life can result in lowered expectations for the child.

  6. Sherry

    I can tell Gail and Margaret must not have any close friends or family members with autistic children. I do. Both of these children come from very loving, supportive homes (with two parents) and have been given healthy diets. But there are definitely some unexplainable neurological and behavioral problems present.

    Both are boys. One is seven and one is twelve and neither have “caught up” to their peers in school. I hope these studies will continue to be done, and more evidence to be found and reported.

  7. Sara

    Along with Austism Awareness, there seems to be confusion. First, the cases of Autism reported has increased in the past decades partially because we now know that what we used to consider a “weird” or “anti-social” kid, is actually a kid with neurological issues (hence the umbrella term “Austism Spectrum Disorders”). Although scientists cannot prove the cause of ASD, when there is coexistence of environmental factors and neurological impairment, it is worth considering. Furthermore, living a stable home and having healthy life-style do NOT exempt you from the possibility of ASD! I have worked with PLENTY of families who live ultra-clean lifestyles and are also raising kids with ASD. We do not know what causes ASD, so please do not assume that any child with a disability has been damaged by an inappropriate environment or have parents that have not tried everything to help their child.

  8. Dr Pieter Dahler

    Regarding the etiology of Autism, it is a multi-factorial series of events that lead to the Spectrum Disorder.
    I am not saying that the presence of ASD is the result of similar events and causes.
    Thye are all different for each patient, and for a very good reason.
    I have written a paper about one sceintifically well-accepted cause of the symptoms of Autism.
    it is very readable for the layman as well as professionals to understand.
    It is multi-pages so there is no room to publish it here.
    You are welcome to send for it by contacting [email protected]

    I am Dr Pieter Dahler, DDS, MD, ND (hon) PhD
    Retired Oral Surgeon and Neurosurgeon.

  9. Mary

    My husband and I are both teachers with normal communication skills. We have a loving, stable, long-term relationship as a couple and are best of friends. We eat healthy food, I breastfed our son, I was a stay-at-home mom until he reached Kindergarten. We believed in attachment theory when he was younger, and did everything our version of an ideal parent would do. When I returned to work, grandma took care of our son and shuttled him to and from school. We read to him daily, cuddled with him, engaged in play with him. He had plenty of unstructured play time with toys that promoted creativity. I nannied other children so that he would have playtime with peers. He was enriched with typical activities like swimming lessons and music, though we were careful to never overschedule him. He had a consistent bedtime, which was never a fight. We watched very little television in our household, and were cognizant to turn off any kind of violence (even the news!). To this day, we don’t own any gaming systems. My husband and I were humbled by our son. We have had to change our languaging system to meet his needs. He is on the mild end of the autism spectrum. I feel saddened to think how hard parents can work, and how wrongly judged they can be. Other parents can be negligent, yet miraculously have normal kids. Educate yourselves Jilian, Gail, and Margaret. You judge incorrectly, and your commentary was offensive. Autisticism (like racism)?

  10. Midgy

    One theory I read and that I think is plausible is the low fat movement. Babies need fat for their brains to grow. I was born in 78 and during my childhood, the only time I heard of autism was the movie Rain Main. then the low fat movement hit really hard. I think it sounds logical – all those pregnant moms out there drinking low fat milk, fat free cheese, getting the turkey burger instead of beef, etc.

  11. LeeAnn

    WOW! I am amazed and saddened at the ignorance of some of these responses! This is enraging! Let me get this straight, if I don’t provide a loving, healthy, and educationally appropriate environment for my child then I’m allowing autism to “take a foothold”??? And also, if I would just give my daughter time to “catch up” (after she LOST all of the age appropriate language skills that she ALREADY HAD at the age of two) she’d be fine by the time she reaches first grade??? If you your kid lost the ability to walk suddenly, would you just wait for them to “catch up” ?!?! How ridiculous! This just highlights the real issue that most people don’t understand with regard to what autism is and isn’t. At it’s core, autism is a complex set PHYSICAL problems that result in neuro-behvioral symptoms. The bottom line is if you treat the physical issues, then the autistic symptoms DO IMPROVE! Let’s not resort to the “refrigerater mom” thinking from the dark ages- there aren’t 1 in 100 families out there who are denying their kids of “a household that focuses on healthy eating, very little TV’, etc., And, personally, I take great offensive to that comment- who do you think you are?!?

  12. mimi

    I would like to have the e-mail of Mary , a teacher with a son in the edge of ASD. I am graduate from Institute for Integrative Nutrition, New York City and learn a lot about health.
    The Director Joshua Rosental thought us that miriculs could happened when you know
    how to educate the people about healthy eating and healthy life stile.Maybe I will help using only the food tool.Thanks

  13. Sierra

    Kelly, B6, B12 and folic acid are in a great number of foods. My suggestion is to provide alot of options for the kiddos, including grass fed organic meats and milk, cheese, and yogurt, fish no more than once a week, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach, bananas, dried apricots, dates and figs.
    You’ll know how they like these things prepared, but you can also try making smoothies (kids love them!) and really get creative with it!

  14. Bruce Scrogin

    I don’t always buy into your EMR (electromagnetic radiation) theories, but given that the brain/nervous system that controls our bodies functionally, signals our movements, reports our senses and generates our thoughts, etc., is an electrical system, then the increase of external electrical and magnetic fields at an unimagined rate during the past couple of decades must have some unknown and unintended effects. The exposure of a not yet fully formed human (fetus) to this increased radiation could certainly have some effect. Of course, it’s hard to study, since this didn’t exist in the past and it is impossible to totally isolate a fetus from EMR now. On the other hand, no one was diagnosed with autism (that I know of) in the ’40’s or ’50’s since this type of disease was usually written off to environment, inherited characteristics or maybe a mother’s illness during pregnancy. I’m pretty sure that I would have been diagnosed with ADD as a child. I certainly had a lot of the symptoms, but no one had even thought of looking for this back in the ’40’s and ’50’s. In fact, our generation’s concept of the brain and body as seemingly two separate elements has been pretty much washed away today and the long term effects of our life with food additives and all the EMR that has been introduced (albeit at low levels) cannot be evaluated maybe for generations. For example, the effect of immune bacteria due to antibiotics that have been introduced into the meat supply can hardly be evaluated in the next ten or twenty years. It may be that the same is true of EMR and Autism.

  15. Kathy

    Ann, I have an 18 year old autistic son and am also a nurse that works with special needs kids, a lot of them autistic. I have done a lot of research and am still trying to make the connections. We are both type A blood. Dr. Bradstreet and others say that 90% of autistics are type A blood. Type A blood people have low HCL. Look up Body Ecology and other websites. Low HCL means we do not metabolize nutrients, especially proteins very well. Yes, there is a nutrient deficiency and yes there is definetly a glutithione deficiency (low immune) so, as you have eluded in your books, look to the fucntion of the liver, especially phase 2 and methylation. The very first thing I checked was his gut. Citrobacter braachii. No fungus (although this could always change). Very low in some important good bacteria which could also be the cause of low neurotoxins since some of the good flora are not there to make the necesary B’s and other important amino acids. Yes, I have him on Dr Ohhira’s along with uva ursi and oregano oil for the citobacter and many nutrients. So which came first? Low HCL or possible liver disorder. Either could cause a whole myraid of other organ disorders especially thyroid and endocrine and brain. Another thing to consider, if the liver is not working and the body is becoming more toxic or not able to rid it’s toxic load, these chemicals are usually fat soluble not water and move toward the more fatty tissues/organs such as the brain and endocrine system. I also checked his neurotransmitters and found some to be very low, the one I am working on now is phenylalanine (here we go with the amino acids again). It at least explains the low attention in school. I also checked his toxic load. Not that bad considering but I think labs can be very deceiving because toxins hide in tissues, especially fat tissues. Look at any autoimmune disorder. I will be going back to see what the good retired doctor has to say, especially since he was also a dentist and I have been looking into Oil Pulling lately. Very interesting. The mouth is the window of the gut and I believe in looking to the gut for the problems. This is enough for now but I could go on for days.

  16. Administrator

    Thank you again for all of your comments . There is one small study which showed fairly significant elevation of EMF fields in the bedroom of pregnant women who later gave birth to autistic children. Of course, more research needs to be done as we continue to marinate in a variety of electric, magnetic, and radio frequency fields.

    We have found the Type A blood connection to autism very enlightening as those with Type A blood appear to be the most sensitive of all bloodtypes. Dr ALG wrote about the bloodtype/diet/disease theory back in 1996 in her Body Knows Best . Those with type A blood do not produce enough hydrochloric acid which is essential for the proper absorption of amino acids, two vitamins and fifteen minerals – to be exact. The real shocker here is that both B12 and folic acid – the two nutrients mentioned in the study – will not be absorbed from food without the correct amount of HCL in the stomach.

    Low HCL leads to an underfunctioning pancreas and liver when you trace the metabolic processes involved with digestion. So — there is something to the HCL connection which has long been a theme in Dr. ALG’s books.

    Sadly, doctors no longer test for HCL. The Heidelberg Test will tell the tale and is available through several integrative physicians’ clinics that we know of in the Seattle area and New York.

    Finally, with regard to the whey concern. The only whey product Dr. ALG endorses is the Fat Flush Whey which is sourced in New Zealand. The current products in the system arrived pre-Fukishima. UNI KEY will be monitoring radiation levels with all new batches as per Dr. ALG’s suggestion.

  17. Gail

    The people who think that a more nurturing home and better diet or anything else like that for that matter, will prevent autism, do not know what autism is period. I work with autistic children and it is obvious that it has nothing to do with “parenting”. These children can be severely mentally disabled, more so than most with Down Syndrome. The comments made above are just ridiculous, seriously get educated!

  18. adrienne

    asd is also a genetic disorder, and that you can do nothing about but treat the symptoms and manage them. also the brain is able to grow new neuropathways and behavior modification will work if applied consistantally, as well as vitamin supplements
    ; fish oil, flaxseed oil, e oil, b complex and a good diet that is netural and sligltly bland. i would go gluten free also 🙂


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